University of Guelph, B.S. Environmental Science, Major in Environmental Biology
I am an AnishinaabeKwe from Gull Bay First Nation and grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada. As an Indigenous woman who studies science, I like to think of myself as a traveler between scientific and Indigenous ways of knowing. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I obtained employment with both non-profit and government agencies where I have had the chance to conduct a range of fisheries work such as broad-scale fisheries monitoring, fish stocking, littoral index netting, lake sturgeon drift netting, and lake trout spawn assessment, for example. I have had numerous contracts with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry where I further developed my technical knowledge of natural resource management and conservation. I completed an internship as a Resource Liaison Intern where I developed and maintained partnerships with several First Nation communities regarding Community Based Land Use Planning in the Far North of Ontario. These positions have reinvigorated my motivation for environmental sustainability and reinforced my passion in working with Indigenous communities.
My research project is in collaboration with the Alaska Native Village of Nanwalek. Through our partnership, we aim to utilize an interdisciplinary approach to provide insight to community-driven questions and concerns regarding their sockeye salmon fishery. Nanwalek, located on English Bay near the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, relies on local commercial and subsistence Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) fishing supported by the English Bay Lakes system. The community has witnessed a large-scale decline in salmon abundance over the past 20 years, the causes of which remain largely unclear. Through participatory mapping exercises, we will document traditional ecological knowledge related to salmon spawning locations, ecological information, important historical events, and changes in land-use practices, and landscape, for example. Important locations identified by community members will be used to inform targeted data collection, such as aerial mapping using small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), water temperature and quality assessments, and environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis. Finally, we will establish a fishery working group composed of Nanwalek community members, fishermen, elders, knowledge holders as well as advisers from Alaska Pacific University, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other constituents. We will employ surveys to capture current perspectives on the state of the fishery and establish partnership benchmarks and performance measures. Through quantitative assessments, we will examine the complexities, connections, and internal dynamics among the working group. This project will result in data products that support both tribal entities and agency officials in managing the English Bay Lakes Sockeye Salmon fishery, provide recommendations on processes for building and sustaining collaborative partnerships with Alaska Native communities, and capture the value of Indigenous knowledge through tribal representation in fishery management.
Partners and Collaborators: Alaska Native Village of Nanwalek, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Funding: At-Sea Processors Association
Funding for this work is provided by the Pollock Conservation Cooperative via the Alaska Education Tax Credit Program.